The specialist techniques used to create a kind of semi-permanent make-up are often referred to as micropigmentation. This procedure can simply be described as minute particles of coloured pigment being placed mechanically below the surface of the skin. The most frequently requested procedures are permanent colour to the eyebrows, top and bottom eyeliner shading, lip liner and full lips/lip blend, beauty spot and freckle treatments. Although the treatment fades after approximately 1 - 3 years, some colour will remain to a greater or lesser degree. Micropigmentation can be compared to having a tattoo as the new pigment or colour is deposited in the dermal layer of the skin, just below the surface. You can return to work and normal activities immediately afterwards.
Who has micropigmentation & how is it used?
People who undertake micropigmentation can do so for many different reasons, ranging from those who simply want to look their best at all times, to those who require some form of corrective skin enhancement for medical reasons. Some people who might choose to have cosmetic micropigmentation are:
- Those with allergies to conventional make-up;
- Those with no time to apply make-up daily;
- Those with thin, pale or poorly defined lips;
- Those who seek correction of asymmetrical (“lop-sided”) facial features;
- Those with excessively oily skin which causes make-up to smear; &
- Those with physical difficulties which make the application of conventional.
What happens during a Micropigmentation (semi-permanent make-up) treatment?
Your first appointment will be a consultation to discuss your requirements & expectations from micropigmentation. I will explain the treatment process & take notes on your medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t undergo micropigmentation. If necessary, cosmetic pencils can be applied to simulate the results of the treatment. We will also discuss your skin tone in order to ascertain the correct choice of pigment. Make sure that you obtain as much information as necessary to enable you to make a fully informed decision about this procedure & whether it can achieve the results you’d like.
On the day of treatment you would normally be asked to sign a consent form which means that you have understood the future benefits & possible risks associated with the procedure. Photographs of the area to be treated may also be taken for a “before & after” comparison later. Depending on the area being treated, & your tolerance of pain, an anaesthetic cream may be first applied to help minimise discomfort. Once this has worked, cosmetic pencil is applied to create a template for the procedure. You should make sure that you are satisfied with the final shape before proceeding with the treatment. The selected pigments are blended & applied into the skin with a very fine needle via a small hand-held electrical device. The initial appointment should take from ½ - 2 hours depending on the areas being treated & the skill/speed of the technician. There should always be one or in some cases two follow-up appointments, which should be included in the overall cost of the treatment. The follow-up appointments will take less time.
The most up-to-date form of treatment should mimic softly applied natural looking make-up & will therefore not last as long as the old style heavily applied permanent make-up. It is not possible to determine the length of time the pigment will remain visible in the skin as each person varies, however, it is recommended that treatments are re-applied when necessary to freshen the appearance; this may be anything from 6 - 18 months depending on individual preference & the initial colour chosen.
How long will it take to recover from Micropigmentation?
No recovery time is necessary, however, treated areas will appear a little dark for a few days & subsequently exfoliate & lighten to a more natural looking shade. The second visit will be necessary to perfect the shape & deepen the colour. In some instances, on delicate skin there may be swelling & or slight bruising, however, you can return to work & normal activities immediately after a treatment.
What are the risks & potential complications from Micropigmentation treatment?
Permanent cosmetic procedures are of a skin invasive nature (as they are a form of cosmetic tattoo) & therefore you may experience some discomfort. This may vary according to each individual's pain threshold & the skills of the technician performing the service. However, keep in mind that there are different methods available to help with pain management, including various topical anaesthetics. Your skin should return to normal relatively quickly as any side effects such as swelling or redness is generally mild. Allergic reactions to permanent cosmetics are quite rare. You may request a skin sensitivity test in an invisible area beforehand to see how your skin responds. Needles inserted too deeply in the skin can cause bleeding, spreading of pigments, & damage to hair follicles. If proper hygiene & sterilisation guidelines are followed, micropigmentation should be very safe with few risks. It is advisable not to pick or rub the treated areas to minimise the risk of infection.
What should you do after a Micropigmentation treatment?
It is very important that you follow the advice of your practitioner carefully after micropigmentation to reduce the risk of complications.
Post-treatment advice includes:
- Avoid direct sunlight on the treated area;
- Do not pick peeling or any flaking skin;
- Avoid wearing conventional make-up on the treated area(s) for 3 - 5 days; &
- Apply Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to form a barrier for 3 - 5 days post procedure.
Who should not have a Micropigmentation treatment?
As long as you are generally healthy & don’t have any skin diseases or infections in the area treated, there are few medical reasons why patients should not undergo this treatment. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding are recommended to delay treatment. Insulin dependent diabetics & people with some heart conditions will also not be suitable for treatment. Please inform your practitioner of any medication you are taking, if in doubt seek medical advice. If you are prone to keloid or hypertrophic scarring (red, angry, raised) you may develop scar tissue at the treatment site. Please think this over if you have experienced this in the past.
Summary of advice for Micropigmentation (Semi Permanent Make-Up)
Micropigmentation treatments can range from the very subtle to the dramatic, depending on what the client is looking for. A general rule is the more dramatic, the longer it will last. The most frequently requested procedures are explained below:
Eyebrows are the frames of the face. When sets of brows are designed correctly they can lift the eyes & give a more youthful appearance to the face. Clients with sparse eyebrows can have them corrected, & they can be totally reconstructed for those will total hair loss such as Alopecia. Advanced techniques for eyebrow reconstruction include the art & skill of replicating real hair.
Eyeliner or Eyelash Enhancement is used to add depth & definition to the eyes. Colour & thickness is individual. Advanced techniques for eyes include shaded eyeliner.
Please take into account that although the pigment does fade over time, it may never completely disappear. If you are really unhappy with the results, laser treatment may be required to remove the pigment permanently.